• The_Prof

    Great article, definitely a number of things I’ve pondered myself. 

    There’s one thing I have issue with, however;

    “Do we really want or more pertinently need all these
    “cool” gadgets on our phones when the primary function for most is
    making and receiving calls and messages or some variation?”

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I disagree that calls/texts are the primary functions of these devices any more.  I for one spend more time using the apps and games than using the telephony functions by a long way.  In fact, this was almost the case since even before the iPhone, when I had a string of Windows Mobile based phones.  At least it was a close-run thing back then. 

    Whilst talking to people directly is a pretty effective way of communicating, there are so many other modes of communication – most of which can be performed by these devices. 

    I will go as far to say that most of these devices really shouldn’t be called phones at all, as this function is tertiary for most people these days. 

  • Craig

    I, to use your glorious word, “pondered” that as well.

    However whilst they continue to be marketed as Phones, and with the great caller clarity being one of the main benchmarks of mose tech review sites still, I still believe this is the primary function for the majority of the smart phone user base.

    Granted, I myself spend more time responding to emails, texting, using social media, and browsing than perhaps calling….when I do make a call it’s for a prolonged period of time, and it’s irrespective of the 3G signal I have which makes it important (which is still one of my major gripes with carriers…signal deviation!).

    I actually liked the idea of the Microsoft KIN devices.  Niche devices for specialised tasks.  I can see us going that way before too long if we don’t get a game changer.

    Thanks for your thoughts…it’s what keeps sites like us going.  Constant interaction.

  • Moo Moo Head

    Did you miss Siri? surely the biggest plus point of the new IPhone 4S above the improved Camera and hardware?
    Some of the ideas developers have done but hacking into it looks game changing again?
    And that is just hacking, imagine if they were allowed to develop apps that can use it as well….
    Google have the work cut out to catch up on this one, but when they do with their already massive search market lead could be awesome.
    Then you have WP7 lurching in the background, with Microsofts reach and $$$’s they will catch up, when they integrate the mobile OS with the desktop/tablet OS and then next Xbox, your life will be complete.
    Apple should buy Nintendo, then they can compete with Microsoft in the home place as well, they will not do it with the MAC range.
    Imagine a Wii (or equivalent) running IOS and connected to the TV, running your Apps, Siri on your TV and then Google would be playing catch up…. but it wont happen, then again they could use Sony as the only other ones that can compete in the home place, if their finances were better people should be worried, Google could help, the next PS4 running Android???

  • Craig

    Hi Moo (nice name by the way)

    Apologies, but as an editorial piece, I decided against adding Siri.  I’ve done a few twitter posts about how Siri, for me, is not much more than Dragon naturally speaking with a few bells and whistles.  I accept it looks pretty cool and tidy, but I’ve yet to see anyone use it at work (lots of iPhone users) other than to show off about the new features.

  • Patch

    ok here is a question and maybe a test craig for you … why don’t you try using a old phone for a week and see what you miss or don’t….??

    maybe then we would see what really is important on a phone…

    just a thought …

  • Craig

    Patch – I like the idea and given a bit of time I’ll take that idea and run with it.  Off the top of my head my first thoughts are that I’d miss social media aspects (which aren’t really Phone-specific…it’s software and web2.0 improvements) and web/data speed (again, carrier specific which push the tech there)

  • Anonymous

    Great post.

    Personally I’d like to see the pace of change slow down a bit with more effort being concentrated on things like polish and battery life.

    And sorry to be a pedant but the iPhone’s GPRS/Edge support definitely wasn’t a game changer. It was actually quite embarrassing even back then.

  • Craig

    Agreed RE: GPRS/EDGE – it brought Data access however to the maintstream masses rather than us sweaty geeks hellbent on a little more speed.

  • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom – mooedia

    I would like to see a device about the size of the current mobile phones, with a 4.6″ max screen which could enable you to edit websites / make music, basically do what your laptop or PC does. This device would also be able, via WIFI display on your TV or PC monitor, so in effect you’d have a portable computer. The hard disk would be 64gb + so we wouldnt need a computer or laptop anymore. Touchscreen being the primary input method with plenty of options for other devices to be connected, prob via wifi as well.

    It would seriously be great to be able to run a full version of Dreamweaver, Music Making package, Office etc on a mobile sized device.

    Things are obviously heading that way with the increased specification, but im sick of the dumbed down interfaces we have to deal with. iOS in particular needs an overhaul as yes its very stable and it just works but its looking tired now and with Windows Phone 7.5 looking pretty hot, I really hope apple produce a new funky interface for their next iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t argue with that. I miss the pre-iPhone days of T-mobile web n walk. £5 for unlimited data.

    And it was quicker back then when only us geeks used it.

  • Matt Peddlesden

    We’ve definitely plateau’d on mobile development again.  The world took a big step forwards to get from the traditional “phone+sms” device to the current touch screen multimedia social experience that we have now.  User apps have taken a big step forwards in this generation as well, it’s much more easy to add the functionality that you want to your phone than it has been previously.

    I want to see support for wireless HDMI, so that I can have my screen output at 1080p to a monitor or TV wirelessly.  With wireless keyboard support and some more meaty processors, there’s no reason that my phone can’t be a phone AND my desktop workstation.  I wouldn’t expect to be able to do *more* on the small screen and tiny keyboard though, you can only squeeze so much out of that.  Link it to a proper keyboard and big monitor though and there’s already enough horsepower in most mobiles to function as a credible desktop.

    Looking further in to the future, they are now testing those “heads up display” contact lenses, that would let me do away with the screen on the phone altogether, AND let me do more while out and about.

    Speech recognition is interesting, and Siri is certainly an exceptionally good demonstration of it, it could be that next iterations of other smart phones do more with speech to try and imitate it.  It will be interesting to see where Speech goes – historically there are still not that many people using speech rec in their own home because they feel self concious about it, so how are they going to be out and about? Still… talking to your phone isn’t that unusual… it’s kinda what they’re all about really… so maybe it’s plausible.  Speech *could* be a key factor going forwards, but I’m still not sold on it.  I have speech in my car and if i’m honest the only time I ever use it is to demonstrate it to others.

    Integration with everything we do is going to be key going forwards, and they’re already doing pretty well on that front, but as the internet develops the devices need to find better, slicker, easier and more “deep” ways to integrate them in to what we do.  That’s not so much a game changer, but it’s a baseline for anything going forwards; any device which does not deepen that integration will not do as well as one that does.

    I think for me a big thing, as mentioned above, is that I want to see phone + tablet + desktop all merge in to one platform so that all my information is immediately there on anything I use and the only difference is the amount of horsepower and the input / output devices that are available to interact with it.

    Interesting times.